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We welcome poet and scholar Adam Falkner in support of his debut full-length collection, The Willies.
About the collection: The Willies, poet and scholar Adam Falkner's first full-length collection, offers a sharp and vulnerable new portrait of the journey into queerhood in America. In a voice that Dr. Cornel West heralds as "prophetic in bleak times," Falkner departs from a more familiar coming out narrative to center the stories of several dueling selves. Masquerading white boy. Child of an addict. Closeted varsity athlete. Grief-struck friend. Through snapshots of "Willies" both tragic and humorous, merciless and humane, Falkner offers powerful new ways of understanding the intersectional linkage that binds queer shame to cultural appropriation. The Willies traverses Wu-Tang Clan listening parties to pine forests in the Catskill Mountains to rehab waiting rooms to depict the various costumes we hide within toward navigating the legacies of toxic masculinity, and the many interior tensions synonymous with queer life. At it's core, The Willies asks us to consider not Who will we become if we give name to that which scares us? but rather Who might we become if we do not?
Dr. Adam Falkner is a poet, educator and arts & culture strategist. He is the author of Adoption (Winner of the 2017 Diode Editions Chapbook Award) and The Willies (Button Poetry, 2020), and his work has appeared in a range of print and media spaces including on programming for HBO, NBC, NPR, BET, in the New York Times, and elsewhere. A former high school English teacher in New York City's public schools, Adam is the Founder and Executive Director of the pioneering diversity consulting initiative, the Dialogue Arts Project, and Special Projects Director for Urban Word NYC.